Dh has just bought me a raclette, which brought back many happy memories from student days, and from when I lived in Germany, and time spent in Austria, and Switzerland. Unfortunately I never actually owned or organised a raclette, and my memories are very hazy. I definitely remember fine wines! But what else - salads, new potatoes, swiss cheese (obviously)...? I feel like I am missing something crucial. Can anyone enlighten me - I'm dying to try it out!
Yes Raclette cheese is defintely better than any other I've tried in the past ( have a machine up in the attic) When I had them in France in the past the family I lived with always had smoked ham ( often jambon de campagne -cured ham)with the cheeese and potatoes but I've no idea if this is traditional or not.
A raclette is a machine for melting cheese - what you end up with is a bit like cheese on toast, but without the toast (not a very good description, but the best I can do) - which is part of a traditional dish in the Alps. Traditional machines (like this ) take half a round of cheese (about 40cm across) - but you can get smaller ones which melt slices only (and the one I have doubles as a crepe maker).
KMG - you'd quite often get it served with various cured/smoked/dried meats and gherkins as well as what you remember.
Raclette is a special kind of Alpine cheese (I'll not say Swiss as I'm not sure if they also make it in the Savoie) which melts nicely. A true Raclette machine is like a grill at 45 degrees, close to which you put half a wheel of raclette cheese, until the top layer starts to melt, at which point you scrape it off and start the process again. The melted cheese you eat with new potaotes, plenty of black pepper, gherkins, or jambon cru (like thick slices of prosciutto).
You can now buy wee machines which has lots of little trays, on which you put slices of raclette and put under its grill - and then eat with the extras mentioned above.
oooh yummy, we used to have a Raclette machine when I was a kid and just thinking about it has brought back all sorts of memories. I definitely remember new potatoes, gerkins, crusty bread and crisp white wine (or milk for me as a kid!)
We used to have them when visiting family in Switzerland. The new potoatoes were hot in a separate basket. The cheese was melted and in the other containers we cooked eggs and anything else we fancied. You were supposed to have hot drinks with it as the swiss hosts insisted you would get tummy ache from the melted cheese otherwise.
Thank you all - you're fantastic - definitely refreshed my memories. Can't wait to try it out now. Have been looking for raclette cheese, but haven't found it here yet. (Bit of a cultural backwater here!)
I remember Rhiannon something about tummy aches - something you're NOT supposed to drink with raclette or cheese fondue..? What is it? Is it chilled white wine? or spirits?
KMG - DH lived 10 years in CH just informed me that only (white) wine or tea are to be drunk with Fondue or Raclette... water not a good idea!
Ham - dry cured (preferably viande des grisons but good luck finding it!)
Silver onions in vinegar and gherkins in vinegar
My local Mexican restaurant does something which is basically grilled vegetables or chorizo with cheese melted on top and served with tortilla chips. It would probably work well if you have one of the little pan type grills.